Move it to Lose it: Easy Tips for Better Shoulder Mobility

Your shoulder’s rotator cuff—muscles and tendons holding your arm bone in place—is key for upper body movements. But shoulder mobility isn’t guaranteed.

“Shoulder mobility is crucial for everyday activities like reaching into cupboards, putting on a belt, or getting dressed,” says Dr. Landon Uetz, a physical therapist and pickleball instructor with TeachMe.To. “We take these movements for granted until they’re limited.”

Gentle stretches and exercises can help you maintain or regain mobility. The good news? Improving shoulder mobility doesn’t require hours of effort. Dr. Uetz suggests a simple trick that takes less than two minutes, and other physical therapists agree.

Why Shoulders Get Stiff

Dr. Uetz explains that shoulder mobility issues can stem from muscle stiffness or joint problems. Muscles like the pectorals (chest) and latissimus dorsi (back) can restrict movement. Additionally, the shoulder joint’s capsule can tighten, leading to conditions like frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis).

Quick Tips to Improve Shoulder Mobility

Dr. Uetz recommends spending two minutes doing a few exercises to enhance shoulder movement. Here are three easy ones:

  1. Stick Stretch
    • Use a yardstick, broomstick, or golf club.
    • Lie on your back, hold the stick with both hands in front of your chest.
    • Use one arm to guide the other over your head to a comfortable stretch.
    • Repeat 10-15 times.
  2. Modified Child’s Pose
    • Assume a child’s pose position.
    • Rock back and forth, stretching your arms overhead.
    • Repeat 10-15 times. For a standing alternative, place your arms on a countertop.
  3. Wall Stand
    • Stand against a wall.
    • Slide your arms up to feel a stretch, then bring them back down.
    • Repeat 10-15 times.

Extra Exercises from Experts

  1. Shoulder Rolls and Tricep Push-ups
    • Roll shoulders for 30 seconds, do tricep push-ups for 60 seconds, then roll shoulders for another 30 seconds.
  2. PAILs and RAILs
    • Do a crossbody shoulder stretch, hold for up to 2 minutes.
    • Contract shoulder muscles for 10-20 seconds, then pull deeper into the stretch for 10-30 seconds.
  3. Thoracic Twist
    • From a tabletop position, lift one arm to the ceiling, twist, and thread it under the opposite arm.
    • Repeat 5-10 times on each side.

These exercises help build strength and mobility, making daily tasks easier. For more detailed guidance, refer to Parade’s full article.


  • Dr. Landon Uetz, Physical Therapist and Pickleball Instructor at TeachMe.To
  • Carrie Rose, CPT, Founder of SunUp Coaching
  • Rachel Lovitt, CPT, Founder of Mindful Movement and Living
  • Rebecca Stewart, CPT, Certified Personal Trainer and Strength Coach

Credit : Parade

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